For the sake of American freedom and American justice the United States must confer automatic United States citizenship on Raffaele Sollecito presently a citizen of Italy. Such a procedure is not unprecedented. Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov was granted automatic U.S. citizenship.
Raffaele Sollecito along with American citizen Amanda Knox was convicted of the murder of Merdith Kercher on November 1, 2007, by an Italian Court of First Instance on December 4, 2009 and sentenced to twenty five years in prison. However guilt in Italy is not considered set until an Italian Appeals Court also finds the defendants guilty. On October 3, 2011, the Italian Appeals Court, after hearing all the physical and other evidence, found both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox not guilty. Both young people were released after spending almost four years in prison.
Yet the Italian Court of Casssation, without directly hearing any evidence, has overturned the acquittal on March 26, 2013, and ordered a retrial.
Raffaele Sollecito is a De Facto American.
Raffaele Sollecito was charged by authorities in Perugia Italy along with an American Amanda Knox with the murder of English exchange student Meredith Kercher in the city of Perugia on November 1, 2007. However both these young people are entirely innocent of this murder. Raffaele Sollecito’s case for innocence is completely entangled with that of Amanda Knox. They both share the same alibi, that they were are Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment the night of the murder. No valid evidence was found in the locked Meredith Kercher bedroom that confirmed the presence of either Knox or Sollecito at the crime scene, let alone their participation in the murder.
More to the point Raffaele Sollecito resisted considerable pressure from the police, prosecutors, and even members of his own family to either rebut by testimony the alibi for American citizen Amanda Knox or to distance his defense in this criminal case from hers. Mr. Sollecito spent months in solitary confinement because prosecutors hoped they could force him to contradict the alibi of Amanda Knox that she was in his apartment the entire night the murder occurred. Because of his integrity in defense of an innocent American charged overseas Raffaele Sollecito was convicted in one unjust Italian court and sentenced to twenty five years in prison. After four years in prison Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were found not guilty and set free. Amanda Knox was able to return home to Seattle, Washington.
Yet lately this acquittal was overturned by an outrageous illegal decision by Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation.
It is apparent that the life and fate of Raffaele Sollecito has become intertwined with that of an innocent American woman. Because of his continued resistance to pressure to turn against and away from Amanda Knox Raffaele Sollecito has become a de facto American.
In other ways too Raffaele Sollecito has become American. He has become fluent in English. He has achieved numerous degrees in computer science and has become proficient in robotics.
And Raffaele Sollecito is an innocent who is endangered by foreign persecution.
Raffaele Sollecito and Double Jeopardy
Double jeopardy is a second prosecution for the same offense or multiple punishments for the same offense. The prohibition of and protection from double jeopardy is one of the oldest legal principles of European civilization. The concept extends back to the Greeks and ancient Roman legal tradition. The basics reasons for the protection against double jeopardy include: “(1) preventing the government from employing its superior resources to wear down and erroneously convict innocent persons; (2) protecting individuals from the financial, emotional, and social consequences of successive prosecutions; (3) preserving the finality and integrity of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised were the state allowed to arbitrary ignore unsatisfactory outcomes; (4) restricting prosecution discretion over the charging process: and (5) eliminating judicial discretion to impose cumulative punishment that the legislature has not authorized.” (see http://www.lawbrain.com)
In England the prohibition against double jeopardy was a basic principle of common law. The double jeopardy prohibition was strongly supported by prominent English jurists Henry De Bracton(1250), Sir Edward Coke(1628), Sir Matthew Hale(1736) and Sir William Blackstone (1769).
Sir William Blackstone, one of the most important exponents of English common law, wrote “no man is to be brought into jeopardy of his life, more than once for the same offense.” (David Rudstein “A Brief History of the Fifth Amendment Guarantee Against Double Jeopardy” William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 193 (2005) at http://scholarship.law.em.edu/vol14/iss1/8)
The prohibition against double jeopardy has become part of the law of the United States, the federal government as well as all of the fifty states. Double jeopardy was prohibitive by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The prohibition is considered a basic right applicable to the states from the Fourteenth Amendment.
Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black stated: “The constitution prohibition against ‘double jeopardy’ was designed to protect an individual from being subjected to the hazards of trial and possible conviction more than once for an alleged offense … The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense, and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty. (355 U.S. 184 (1957) quoted in David Rudstein op. cit. p.195).
The Italian Court of Cassation has violated such double jeopardy rights of both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by overturning their acquittals. And the Court of Cassation has as well violated its constitutional prerogative. To understand this one must realize that the mandate of the Court of Cassation is not to determine the validity of evidence or challenge the conclusion of the Court of Appeals but to insure that proper legal procedure was used in the trial.
Yet in the case of Knox and Sollecito the Court of Cassation has abandoned its constitutional mandate and overruled the Appeals Court because it disagreed with its view of the evidence and its conclusion, not because of any major legal procedural problem.
As Raffaele Sollecito, no lawyer but an intelligent scholar, has put it, it is a kafkaesque experience, referring to the novels by Franz Kafka, famous novelist in Prague, now in the Czech Republic. The term refers a long period of stress and uncertainty, exactly the condition the prevention of double jeopardy is designed to mitigate.
Italian Court of Cassation has violated the rights of Raffaele Sollecito as well as Amanda Knox
By its breach of its mandate the Court of Cassation has violated the double jeopardy rights of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. In effect, after a legitimate acquittal the Court of Cassation reinterpreted the evidence presented at the Appeals Court without hearing a single witness or viewing a single piece of evidence. The Court of Cassation in effect spuriously nullified a legitimate acquittal and ordered another trial. This is what double jeopardy looks like.
Moreover the Court of Cassation imposed its own theory of the crime, namely that Meredith Kercher was murdered by more than one person. Yet all physical evidence demonstrates otherwise. The coroner Dr. Lalli could not rule out a single killer. Even prosecution forensic witnesses could not state that there was evidence that a second or third person involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher. All the evidence from the locked Meredith Kercher bedroom on the night of the murder – the DNA, the bloody foot prints, the hand prints, the fingerprints, and other physical evidence – points to only one person as the killer, namely the burglar Rudy Guede.
In addition to the violation of double jeopardy the Court of Cassation has in effect demanded a guilty verdict in any new trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. As Judge Pratillo Hellman related in an interview with Oggi magazine: “They should have just limited themselves to the law. Instead they decided to interpret the evidence and that is a violation of the law. That is incorrect. They have delivered the Court of Assizes of Florence a judgment already ready-made, telling them what they must do in order to convict the two defendants.” As Raffaele Sollecito wrote: “The Supreme Court wrote down just INSTRUCTIONS FOR A CONVICTION. That’s the reality and that’s incredibly bad.”
Yes, this edict by the Court of Cassation is incredibly bad. The Court of Cassation has not only egregiously violated the right of prevention of double jeopardy. The Court of Cassation has determined guilt by decree. This court has thus become a Star Chamber like the infamous extra constitutional court that existed in England from the late fifteenth century to 1641.
Court of Cassation Mangles and Lies About The Evidence
Aside from ignoring the physical evidence demonstrating that neither Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito was involved in or present at the murder of Meredith Kercher in her bedroom, the Court of Cassation has in its motivation report of its decision overturning the acquittals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has made many other false statements of the evidence in this case. Again the Court of Cassation has proven its inability to rationally and justly analyze the evidence and conclusion of the Court of Appeals.
Some of the false statements about the evidence found in the Court of Cassation explanation of its decision are found on the website http://RaffaeleSollecito.org.
These false statements include:
(1) On the bra clasp found at the Kercher murder scene the designated expert contained a mixed DNA profile of only Raffaele Sollecito. In fact the bra clasp was taken into evidence six weeks from when it was first found on the murder scene. This clasp was moved and gathered dust and DNA material (dropped skin cells) during the six week period. Skin cells account for thirty percent of house dust. The bra clasp was in the apartment while numerous investigators were doing unrecorded things in the apartment. The later covering of the bra clasp with an old throw rug made the clasp a verifiable dust mop. In fact the bra clasp would be inadmissible in a normal law court anyway because of its presence in a long unsecured crime scene.
Moreover Stefanoni used primers or DNA markers of short tandem repeats (short sequences of DNA used for testing) based on the profile of Raffale Sollecito. This procedure is forbidden by all international standards because this procedure leads to biased results. DNA samples are to be analyzed on the individual evidence piece basis. Then the results are to be compared to actual individuals.
Not only did Stefanoni use a wrong procedure but she lied about it in court and used proper procedure to analyze all DNA. The credibility of the Stefanoni tests is very low.
The DNA that supposedly implicates Mr. Sollecito could come from hundreds of other people in Perugia. The prosecution bra clasp is thus useless for evidence.
The Stefanoni results were debunked and refuted by genuine forensic scientists like La Sapienza university professors and doctors Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti. Their views have been confirmed by international Ph.D. scientific experts including Elizabeth A. Johnson and Greg Hampikian.
Moreover videos of the crime scene investigation demonstrate numerous times the investigators contaminated the crime scene by not changing gloves and other maneuvers.
(2) “There was a Y chromosome that corresponded only to Raffaele Sollecito. In fact at least two other Y chromosomes were found, but it was not possible to identify them because there were no available profiles for comparison. Neither of the two corresponded to those of the convicted murderer, Rudy Guede. Hence, the other 2 contributors are still unknown.” (from http://RaffaeleSolecito.org)
(3) The technician Patrizia Stefanoni used proper procedure to determine that the DNA of Meredith Kercher was on the blade of the knife in the Raffaele Sollecito apartment the prosecution determined was a murder weapon. In fact expert forensic scientist Carlo Torre noted DNA testers found no blood on the Sollecito knife. Other experts concurred. What objective independent experts found were traces of potato starch. If the knife had been cleaned for blood by bleach, as the prosecution claimed, the starch would not be there.
On the knife blade sample “H” granules with a circular/hexagonal characteristic morphology with a central radial structure were found by Drs. Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti. The doctors concluded: “A more detailed microscopic study, together with the consultation of data from the literature allowed us to ascertain that the structures in question are attributal to granules of starch, thus matter of a vegetable nature” The knife was not bleached during or after the murder of Ms. Kercher.
Moreover to get a Kercher DNA reading on the Knife tip prosecution technician Stefanoni had use low copy DNA analysis in an unsuitable environment that was contaminated with Meredith Kercher’s DNA. Low copy DNA analysis needs an ultra clean laboratory with positive air pressure, specialist lighting, and chemical treatments to minimize DNA contamination. The laboratory Stefanoni worked in had none of these safeguards. Stefanoni moreover did not use negative controls. Negative controls are blank samples with no DNA. If there is no contamination the negative control will have no DNA. If there is contamination, the negative control will display DNA.
In addition Ms. Stefanoni overrode the parameters of the low copy testing machine improperly several times to achieve her result. The DNA testing machine read that there was too low a DNA sample for testing several times, as Stefanoni set the permissible DNA quantity level lower and lower. The result was also useless because there was not enough DNA material for another test. Such a test is necessary to verify any low copy DNA finding.
(4) “Designated expert Professor Carla Vecchiotti decided alone and as an individual not to comply with the instructions of the Court of Appeal by not proceeding with the analysis of this trace of possible DNA. In fact Dr. Vecchiotti, in a meeting with all of the official consultants of all parties, including Professor Giuseppe Novelli and Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, clearly expressed her intention not to proceed with the analysis. Vecchiotti’s reasons included the inability to carry out a second amplification of the sample based on its extremely small size and limited quantity. On the occasion of the meeting, all parties agreed with the Appeal Court’s Expert, and put their signatures on the analysis document with no further objections.” (from http://RaffaeleSolecito.org)
(5) “Convicted killer Rudy Guede had no wounds on his right hand. In fact photographs taken by German police shortly after Guede’s arrest in Germany a week after the crime show superficial wounds in the process of healing, on the palmar surface of Guede’s fingers.” (from http://RaffaeleSolecito.org)
(6) “On the morning of November 2nd Amanda made a single call to only one of the two cell phones in use by Meredith (as stated by the Court of 1st degree), allegedly in order to make sure that no one had yet found the phone. In fact, as shown instead in Amanda’s phone records, Amanda made an initial call to Meredith’s Italian SIM (registered to Filomena Romanelli) at exactly 12:11:02. Amanda then made a second call to Meredith’s English SIM, the phone Meredith used to call her parents, whose number was saved with the label HOME. The second call was made at exactly 12:11:54, showing that Amanda called Meredith on both of her mobile phones in the hope of contacting her.” (from http://RaffaeleSolecito.org)
(7) “The prints of bare feet enhanced with luminol in the corridor and in Amanda’s room were made with the victim’s blood. Luminol enhances traces of many substances in addition to blood. All of the tests done to highlight blood in those tracks were negative. The footprints were left with other substances, such as cleaning fluids or as bubble bath, leaving evidence that is harmless and irrelevant in assigning responsibility for the murder to Amanda. Amanda told the Court of First Instance the same thing during her hearing: that the morning of November 2nd she went to her home, took a shower, and that immediately after the shower, she went barefoot into her room, drawing with her the bathmat, which was on the floor outside the shower.” (from http://RaffaeleSolecito.org)
(8) The mixture of blood of Amanda Knox and Merdith Kercher in the bidet of their common proves Amanda Knox was at the crime scene. In fact it does not. Amanda Knox had lost some blood from piercing her ear to be able to wear earrings a short time before the murder of Meredith Kercher.
(9) The defendants must prove contamination for the prosecution evidence to be ruled inadmissible. No, the defense should not have this burden of proof. The burden of proof should lie on the prosecution. If the prosecution can not guarantee the no contamination of its tests, the evidence gathered from such tests is valueless. The Court of Cassation has moreover ignored substantial evidence of evidence contamination from police videos. The court has also ignored the demonstrated lies and evasions about the gathering of evidence from top prosecution laboratory technician Patrizia Stefanoni.
These falsehoods are among the more egregious falsehoods presented by the Court of Cassation in its document in support of its decree supporting the overruling of the the acquittals of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Not only is the Court of Cassation a violator of any reasonable standard of double jeopardy and an obscene illegal Star Chamber. The Court of Cassation in manifestly incompetent to analyze criminal evidence.
Raffaele Sollecito needs the protection of U.S. citizenship
No American citizen should be subject to double jeopardy and Star Chamber like proceedings in a foreign court. This is why there are legal safeguards against extradition of any American citizen to foreign countries with different or corrupted legal systems. Thus Amanda Knox while in the United States is surrounded by some wall of safety.
However, Raffaele Sollecito, who refused to testify against Amanda Knox and /or separate his case from hers is not protected. He is not an American citizen. Thus an innocent honest man who helped protect an innocent American and the truth is now subject to the Court of Cassation Star Chamber like decrees and injustice. This is wrong.
Automatic American citizenship for Raffaele Sollecito would provide more protection to him from illegal and unjust Court of Cassation induced persecution. And this grant of citizenship would send a clear message to the Mignini element in Italy that there will be no extradition to impose Italy’s unjust decrees and the injustices of its dens of inequity in this case for either of the innocent young people unjustly accused.